How Can I Clean Areas Of Mold In My Home Or Business
The guidelines for cleaning smaller areas of mold growth include the following practices:
The guidelines for cleaning areas of mold growth larger than 30 square feet include these additional practices, which may require the services of a professional mold remediator:
Can I Sue If I Find Mold In My Apartment
Mold is one of the most common types of fungus, and nearly all homes throughout the United States have a small amount of mold within them. While a little mold is normal and harmless, too much mold, and certain types of mold, can be dangerous for human health.
While searching for an apartment in Columbia or surrounding areas, determining if mold is present may not be something that crosses your mind. If mold does exist, however, it could pose certain risks. Heres what you need to know about the dangers of mold, and what your rights are if mold causes you harm.
The Dangers of Mold
Growing wherever there is moisture, therefore especially common in bathrooms and kitchens, mold can have a variety of effects on health. As reported by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , some people are more sensitive to mold than are others. For those with mold sensitivities or certain health conditions, exposure to mold may result in:
- Serious lung infections
- Eye irritation and
Even in people who do not have mold allergies or mold sensitivities, however, research indicates that exposure to mold can cause upper respiratory tract infections, shortness of breath, and the potential development of asthma.
There are also a handful of more serious illnesses that have been linked to mold exposure, but this link has not yet been proven. These conditions include memory loss, lethargy, and acute idiopathic pulmonary hemorrhage in babies.
What Does Black Mold Look Like
When you want to identify positively the signs of the dangerous type of this fungus versus the regular type, you need to know for what characteristics to look. The toxic variety can look dark green or black in color. It may also be gray, depending on where it is growing in your home.
You can also identify it by its odor. The odor is one of the tell tale signs of it that can help you detect its presence. It may smell musty and like mildew where it grows.
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Mold In Your Apartment Problems Solutions And Prevention
If you suspect you have mold in your apartment, you may worry that your home sweet home has become a hazard to your health. What can you do, and whose responsibility is it to solve the problem?
Mold that concentrates on surfaces indoors can cause health problems, especially if you have a sensitivity like allergies or asthma. That’s why it’s smart to be alert for signs of mold, address mold problems quickly if you find them and take steps to prevent mold growth in the first place.
I Have Mold In My Apartment And My Landlord Wont Address The Situation Can You Help
IDPH does not have the authority to enforce codes that define and protect indoor air quality. We can provide information and recommendations to you and your landlord for addressing the mold, but we cannot require your landlord to implement the recommendations that we provide. In fact, we often refer citizens back to an enforcement entity within their local government, such as a Department of Building and Zoning, for assistance since some mold problems may result from building code violations. Persons in incorporated areas should contact their city government while persons in unincorporated areas should contact their county government.
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Check Your Petri Dish
After 48 hours, check your petri dish for signs of mold growth. If you do not see mold, wait another 24 hours and check again. If you still dont see mold, wait again for 24 hours and check one last time. If you do not see mold growth after 96 hours, your test did not detect any mold. If you do see mold on your test plate, you should take additional steps to remove the mold.
Do A Test And Find The Cause
Many people don’t know that there are many different types of mold. A mold tester will be able to determine what kind of mold is in your apartment and how bad the problem is. If it’s only a little mold, you may be able to clean it yourself. A mold tester will be able to give you tips on how to remove it.
Once you confirm that you do, in fact, have mold in your apartment, you should work to figure out what caused it. Doing this will help to prevent mold from growing in the future.
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Dont Want To Use Chemicals Heres How To Test For Mold In Your Home Naturally
If youre concerned about the effects of harmful chemicals when testing for mold in the house, worry not. Testing for mold doesnt use any chemicals, and kits are non-toxic.
In fact, the main thing you should be worried about when testing for mold is the mold itself. If you are collecting direct samples of mold using the swab technique, wear gloves and a mask to reduce your exposure to the mold.
What Causes Mold In An Apartment
Damp, cool indoor areas are the kinds of places where molds thrive. Sometimes a mold infestation is the result of a water leak. But even after the leak has been fixed, water may linger inside walls and floors, providing a moist surface where mold spores can grow. Water can also enter the home from outside through poorly fitting windows and doors or cracks in walls. A third source of dampness in apartments is condensation. Water in the air that we exhale and from showers or cooking condenses on cool surfaces like interior walls. Indoor humidity that’s regularly higher than 60 percent and temperatures of 60 F or lower also provide growing conditions for mold.
To prevent a mold infestation, use dehumidifiers or air conditioners to remove excess moisture from indoor air, run exhaust fans in your kitchen and bathroom, and heat your home during cold weather.
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Ask Your Landlord And Neighbors About The History Of Your Apartment
If you think you may have a mold problem in your apartment that started before you first moved it, ask your maintenance guy and your landlord if there had ever been water damage or a pipe burst or leaked on or around your apartment.
Also, ask your neighbors on all sides of your unit if they remember a time when there was a leak or water or some flooding that occurred. Many times, tenants will stay for a long period of time and will recall if something memorable like that happened.
If any of them do say there was an issue historically, then you may have found the culprit right there. If not, you may want to do some more investigating on your own first. But it is a good way to track down the history of your apartment unit to see if the conditions were present for mold growth.
Consider The Source Of The Problem
First, consider whether whatever has caused the mold to grow is something you can manage yourself. If you find mold in your shower, for instance, the solution could be as simple as cleaning it up and then cleaning your shower more frequently. But if the mold growth is the result of a problem like water damage, you’ll need to get your property manager involved.
Read Also: What Causes Mold On Ceiling In Bathroom
What Does Mold In The Toilet Look Like
Have you ever noticed a black ring in your toilet bowl? That is exactly what mold in the toilet looks like. Whether its black, pink, red, brown, white, or green, mold usually forms a ring in the toilet. Sometimes, it appears grayish-black or black around the upper rim of the toilet bowl.
Look at the images below for more understanding of what could happen with the whole bathroom if mold growth keeps growing around the toilet:
Learn About Your Landlord’s Liability For Mold Problems How To Get Rid Of Mold And How To Prevent It In The First Place
By , Attorney
Mold is an environmental hazard that can cause concern among renters. Across the country, tenants have won multimillion-dollar cases against landlords for significant health problemssuch as rashes, chronic fatigue, nausea, cognitive losses, hemorrhaging, and asthmaallegedly caused by exposure to “toxic molds” in their building.
If you suspect there is mold in your rental unit, learn what to look for and when your landlord might be liable. Even better, take steps to prevent mold before it becomes a problemor clean mold up before it does become a problem.
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Mold In Your Apartment
The first thing you must do when discovering mold in your apartment is notify your landlord. Nearly every state requires landlords to promptly clean up and eliminate mold as soon as they are notified at their own expense. However, your landlord may attempt to hold you liable if you fail to notify him of the appearance of mold, leaks, or water accumulation in a timely manner.
If your landlord fails to clean up the mold upon notification and you experience ill health as a result, you have a case to seek damages against your landlord. Be certain to keep detailed records of all of your health problems and communications with your landlord to support your case.
Burst Pipes & Defective Plumbing
Pipe breaks are an apartment buildings nightmare. Hundreds, or even thousands of gallons of water can cascade through the halls and stairwells, not to mention walls, floors, and ceilings. One pipe break or plumbing leak can affect dozens of apartments and common areas. Fast action is needed to remove drywall and dry structure and remaining floors as quickly as possible. Its recommended to treat water like a fire quick action helps prevent further damage.
Read Also: Get Rid Of Mold In Bathroom Ceiling
What Is Black Mold
When people say black mold, they refer to Stachybotrys, a greenish-black mold that grows on damp material with a high cellulose content. In our homes, that includes wood, fiber or gypsum board, paper, fabric, or green insulation. Just because mold is black doesnt mean its the dreaded Stachybotrys though, which by the way also manifests itself in blue and grey. But because Stachybotrys can off-gas dangerous mycotoxins, its the mold variety most feared.
How Can I Get Help In Fighting For Decent Services And Conditions In My Apartment
Contact other tenants in the building if you think that mold or other issues are building-wide, and join with interested neighbors to pressure your landlord as a group. Read our information sheet on Forming a Tenants Association.
With the possibility of lawsuits and liabilities, you may want to inform the landlords insurance company of the issue. You can also reach out to local elected officials, especially if you are having difficulty getting city agencies to come out for inspections or to follow up with enforcement. Contact Met Council on Housing or a local housing group for help in organizing your building to fight against a landlord who refuses to clean up and make repairs as required by law.
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How To Test Mold In Apartments
While the suspicion of mold spores should have you calling the experts in mold remediation, there are some things you can do on your own to see if you have a mold problem. If your search does lead to you finding signs of mold damage due to a moisture problem, dont delay in calling the professionals to test for mold.
Testing For Mold In Your Home
If you hire a professional mold inspector to come to your home, theyll take samples from three areasthe air, the surface, and surrounding dust. They send these samples to a third-party laboratory to find out the concentration and kinds of mold in those particular areas.
However, this procedure takes time and isnt cheap. Fortunately, testing for mold in your home is a relatively easy task that can give you faster results and save you money. If youve done everything you can to prevent mold but still have reason to think the air you breathe is compromised with mold spores, check strategic locations for visible signs of mold.
Common areas of mold growth include:
- Areas around plumbing lines, even behind the drywall
- Below sinks
- Coils of HVAC air handlers or ductwork
- Between the furniture and exterior walls, particularly in basements or concrete block houses
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For Detecting And Tackling Mold Spores
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The Spruce / Chloe Jeong
Mold can grow anywhere it finds moisture and organic nutrients, like wood or paper, to feed on. You may find it in a corner of your bathroom, laundry room, or basement, or any space that doesn’t have quality ventilation. If you come across mold, it’s imperative to remove it quickly and safely, as mold can be detrimental to your familys health. However, it can be a little difficult to know if mold exists in your home , which is where at-home mold testing comes in.
Mold testing kits help you detect and even identify growing spores in your home, through samples collected via the air or from the surface in question. Some give you results right away, while others ask you to package the samples and send them back to a lab for professional examination. With the resulting information, you can get the peace-of-mind that you’re looking for while making all of the necessary arrangements to remove the harmful fungi, or know your cleaning efforts were effective.
Here, the best at-home mold tests, that are both easy to use and effective.
Can I Break My Lease Because Of Mold
If the mold is shown to have been there since before you moved in, and your landlord had you move into a unit that had mold in it, and you are suffering health problems because of it, you can absolutely ask to break your lease.
More often than not, the landlord is either going to let you out of the lease so they can go address the significant mold problem, or they are going to ask you to stay and they will take care of the mold problem while you are still a tenant, thus fulfilling his obligation.
Which route you want to take as tenant depends on how bad the mold is, how bad, if any, symptoms you are having because of the mold, and how conducive the landlord is with working with you. Did he offer to put you up at a hotel for a few days while a professional company takes care of the mold? If so, thats a good sign you have a decent landlord and may be in your best interest to stay.
If the problem persists, the landlord is slow to get around to it, or you are having major health problems because of the mold, you can absolutely ask to leave your lease agreement because of this.
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Should A Tenant Leave If Mold Is Found
Mold is a type of microscopic fungi that thrives in moist conditions and grows on any organic material including wood, paper and fibers. Colonies of mold can cover a large area and are usually black, white, grey, brown or green. Not only does mold damage the surfaces it grows on, it can also cause serious health problems. Depending on your sensitivity to mold and the extent of the mold growth, it could be a good idea to move out of your apartment if mold is present.
Are There Ants Or Pests In Your Bathroom
Many ants, insects, and pests like to bore their way into moist wood. Moist wood is usually the result of moisture and mold damage, which is common in the bathroom.
If you spot any ants, insects, or pests in your bathroom, then there is a very high possibility that mold is growing on the wooden structures in your bathroom. In this case, you will have to inspect all wooden fixtures such as cabinets, for any mold invasions.
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